"God lives also in man. Therefore if we are but seeking and loving our own (true) self, we then love God. That which we do to each other we are doing to God. He who seeks and finds his brother and sister has sought and found God. We are in Him all one body with many members, each of which has its own functions." (Threefold Life, xi. 106.)
It was the will of God, by means of becoming Himself human, to reinstate man, who in consequence of his sin had become degenerated into an earthly being, into the glorious state in which he had been created originally.
As this statement, on account of the old theological ideas which it is liable to awaken in the mind, will probably be misunderstood, we will attempt to express its meaning in different terms. God, the will of eternal wisdom, willed that His wisdom should become manifest in a human form, because the universal man, having become absorbed by the attractions of the sensual plane, had lost that divine state of consciousness which renders possible the perception of divine truth. As it is only the truth in man that can know universal truth, and as this principle of truth had become inactive in him, it was necessary that the Christ (the Truth, the Life, and the Light) should become active in him, and by rendering man truthful, self-conscious, and living within the light, reinstate him in his former position which he occupied in the macrocosmos before he sank into materiality and degradation 1.
"The spirit of this world has captured the body 1 and rendered it earthly, so as to cause body and soul to be corrupted. Thus we are no longer in possession of the pure element necessary for the formation of a (pure) body, but au outgrowth of the four elements in combination with the influence of the stars. This body does not belong unto the Godhead. God does not unfold Himself within an unclean body, but only in holy (regenerated, interior) man, in the pure image which He created in the beginning. There was then nothing else to be done than to regenerate that image by means of the heart and light of God." (Three Principles, xxiii. 21.)
"Man must again go out of the spirit of the planets and elements and enter into a new birth, into the life of God. This the soul cannot accomplish by her own power, and therefore the life of God out of love and mercy came to us into the flesh and took our human soul again unto itself, into the divine life, into the power of the light; so that in this life we may enter into a new birth and penetrate unto God." (Threefold Life, i, 17.)
"To the human spirit (as such) it was impossible to issue from the torment of anguish and enter into the region of heaven, and therefore God had to come again into humanity and aid the human spirit in bursting the doors of the darkness, so that it may enter within them (clothed) in divine power." 2 (Threefold Life, xxi. 21.)
"Christ came for the purpose of healing the injury which Adam had suffered when he died relatively to the celestial kingdom. He came to awaken the inner man who had disappeared in Adam, and to regenerate him in His power, and to bruise for ever the serpent's head of wrath and falsehood, (that is to say) to kill the (selfish) terrestrial will." (Stiefel, ii. 168.)
To effect this reconstitution the direct action of God upon humanity would not have been sufficient. Without the incarnation a real union of God and man, and a resurrection of the latter from death, would not have been possible. 1
"It was the will of God to transmute humanity, after it had become earthly, again into the celestial quality, to turn the human earth (material element) into heaven, to make out of the four elements only one, and to transform the wrath of God in human quality into love. But the wrath of God, having become ignited in man, was a power of fire and fury, to resist which, and to transform it into love, it was necessary that love itself should enter into the wrath and surrender itself wholly to it. It was not enough for that purpose that God should remain in heaven (in His own divine self-consciousness), and look lovingly down upon humanity. This would not have subdued the power of the fury and wrath, neither would they have entered into a state of love." (Signature, xi. 7.)
"In the holiness of God the human essence could not have been conceived without the presence of an appropriate medium; the will was separated from it. Therefore God became man, so that He might endow or bless humanity with His divinity, and that He may become conceivable to us." (Baptism, ii. 36.)
"Before the incarnation took place, the Word could redeem the soul, so that she could stand the test before the Father in the fire; but not (the test) in the love and delight before the light of the Holy Trinity. A rising from the tomb was not thus to be accomplished. If man was to be raised from the tomb, the Word had first to become man." 1 (Three Principles, xvi. 35.)
"The pious have clothed themselves in Christ before His incarnation in the covenant of promise, not in substance, but merely in power; not in the flesh, but merely in the spirit." (Stiefel, ii. 442.)
In consequence of sin the power of death had become a ruler, and therefore the Redeemer entered Himself into death for the purpose of conquering it, and to obtain for us again the fulness of divine life. 2
"In consequence of the sin there was no salvation for man; if the eternal Word and heart of God had not become human and entered into the third principle, into the human flesh and blood, taking upon itself (the state of) a human soul, and entering into the death of the destitute soul, whereby it could take away from death its power and from hell its terrible sting, and thus conduct the soul out of death and redeem her from hell." (Threefold Life, viii. 39.)
"Adam's soul had turned from God and died relatively to the essentiality of tile light. Thus the second Adam brought the soul again into the fire, i.e., into the fountain of wrath, and ignited again the light in death. Then shone the light again into the darkness, and death died itself, and for the wrath or hell there was created a plague." (Tilk. i. 513.)
"As we had gone out from the freedom of the angelic world and entered into the dark torture, therefore the power and the word of the light became man, and led us out of the darkness and through death in the fire into the freedom of divine life, into the divine essentiality. Therefore Christ had to die and to enter into the divine essentiality through hell and through the wrath of eternal nature, and to open a road for our soul through death and through the wrath, on which we may enter with Him by means of death into divine life." (Menschwerdung, i. 3, 7.)
"When the two kingdoms, the wrath of God and the love of God, were battling with each other, then appeared Christ as the hero. He willingly surrendered Himself to the wrath (to the suffering caused by the lower principles that had been awakened to consciousness in consequence of the sin), and He extinguished it by His love. He came from God into this world and took our soul into Himself, so that He might take us out of the earthly state into Himself and lead us thus into God. He regenerated us within Himself, so that we would become capable of living again in God, and that we should put our will into Him. In Him He led us to the Father, into our first home; that is to say, into the Paradise which Adam had left." (Menschwerdung, i. 11. 6.)
"The Word took our own flesh and blood into the divine essentiality, and broke the power which held us imprisoned in the wrath of death and fury. It broke that power on the Cross; that is to say, in the centre of nature (the fourth natural form, whose symbol is the Cross), and ignited again in our soul (that had become dark) the burning white light-fire." (Menschwerdung, ii. 6, 9.)
"Christ sacrificed our human image to the wrath of His Father, to be swallowed up in death, and introduced His life into death; but He manifested His love in that life which death had devoured, and thus He brought that life out of death by means of His love (with which it had become one and immortal). As a seed sown into the earth must die (as such and relatively to its form) within the earth, and as by means of this dying a new body grows, so the corrupted body of Adam had to be sacrificed to death and to the wrath, and out of the death and wrath issued the body of the love of God." (Mysterium, xxviii. 17.)
The conquest of the power of death took place, in a certain sense, already at the time of the overcoming of the temptation of the Redeemer, which, like that of Adam, was caused by the envy of the devil, but in which the devil was conquered by the Lord. 1
"Adam was to take possession of the kingly throne of Lucifer, because the latter had turned away from God. From this results the great envy and the spite of the devil against mankind. From this also originates the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, because Christ was to take possession of the throne which the devil claimed, to break his power, and to become his judge who was to reject him eternally." (Grace, vi. 13.)
"All that which had seduced Adam; and wherein he became imprisoned as in the death of darkness, was offered to the Saviour at the time of temptation." (Signature, vii. 46.)
"The temptation is the hard fight in the garden of Eden, in which Adam fell; but the new warrior came out of it victorious, and remained conqueror." (Three Principles, xii. 91.)
"When Christ withstood the temptation in the place of Adam, then the newly introduced celestial Ens broke the sword in the death of the external body of Christ, and by means of the holy substance it brought the external body, which He had taken up in Mary and out of her seed, through that sword of the wrath and into the holy state. In this very power the external body became raised from the dead, and conquered both, death and the fiery sword." (Mysterium, xxiv. 24.)
The first factor in the temptation was that Christ was requested to take earthly food instead of celestial nutriment, and that He should thereby gratify the desire of His body. 1
"After the Spirit of God had led Christ into the wilderness, then was the devil permitted to approach Him in the kingdom of wrath and to tempt the second Adam as he had tempted the first one. There was then no earthly food or drink, and the soul of Christ knew very well that she was in God, and that she could make terrestrial bread out of stones, as there was no other bread there. But she did not desire to eat with her celestial body terrestrial but celestial bread, and to leave the terrestrial body to its hunger, because the divinity in Christ said, 'Eat of the word of the Lord and you will issue from the earthly man and rest in the kingdom of heaven; live in the new man, and then the old one will be dead for the sake of the new.' However, the devil spoke to the soul: 'Thy earthly body is hungry, and as there is no bread, therefore make thou bread out of stones.' Then the strong soul in Christ stood there as a warrior and said, 'Man lives not alone of bread, but of each word that passes through the mouth of God. Thus he rejected the terrestrial bread and life, and put his imagination into the word of God and ate of it. Then was the soul alive in the kingdom of heaven, but the body like one dead; that is to say, it became the servant of heaven and lost its powerful rule (over the soul)." (Three Principles, xxii. 100–105.)
Furthermore, the devil thought of turning the Redeemer away from the divine will by exciting the spirit of vanity. 1
"After the soul of Christ had received the heavenly bread, it was to be seen whether she would now arise in the power of the fire of vanity, or, full of humility, behold only the heart and the will of God, and surrendering herself to it, become an angel of meekness. Herein is seen the cunning of the devil, because he quotes the Scripture and says, 'The angels will carry him upon their hands.' This passage has been misapplied, because it did not refer to the physical body, but to the soul. This he wanted to introduce into pride, so that it should rely upon being carried by the angels; but the Redeemer said, 'It is also written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.' Thus he overcame the pride of the devil and entered into the humility and love of His celestial Father." (Three Principles, xxii. 108.)
Finally, he offered to the Saviour the rule over the external world; but the Lord did not accept it from the hands of the devil, but from His celestial Father. 1
"After the devil had thus failed twice, he came forward with the last powerful temptation (saying) that he would give to Him the whole world if He would fall down and worship him. Adam already had been anxious to come into possession of this world, and he wanted to make it his own; but in doing so he departed from God, and became himself captured by the spirit of this world. Now the second Adam had to submit to this temptation of the first Adam. It was to be tried whether the soul would remain within the new, holy, and celestial man, and live in the grace of God or in the spirit of this world. But the soul of Christ said to the devil, 'Depart from me, Satan! for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and serve Him alone!' Thus the valiant warrior conquered, and the devil had to depart; and thus all that is earthly has been overcome by the Christ. Now the Lord is higher than the moon, 2 and takes all the power in heaven and hell, and is Master over death and life. He now began His sacerdotal kingdom with signs and miracles. He changed water into wine, made whole the sick, the blind seeing, and enabled the lame to walk, and even awakened the dead to life. He now sat in the chair of David, and was the true priest in the order of Melchisedec." (Three Principles, xxii. 3.)
But the victory which the Redeemer had gained over Satan at the time of the temptation could not be sufficient for the purpose of the redemption of mankind. To that end the complete transmutation, consequently the (bodily) death of the Lord, had to take place. 1
"When Christ was born the heaven existed within the earth—of man; but this was not sufficient. The two worlds were to wrestle with each other. Therefore came the temptation, and as the divine world conquered, the great wonders (of the spiritual world) became revealed in the external human world. All this, however, could still not be sufficient, because the human quality was still active in her selfhood (self-consciousness) within the movable wrath. It was necessary that the human state should be transmuted into the celestial one, and for that there was no other way than that the name of Jesus in divine love and celestial essentiality would give itself wholly to be devoured by the wrath. Thus the Son was obedient to the wrathful Father, even unto the death on the Cross." (Signature, ii. 12–17.)
The physical death as well as the temptation of the Redeemer was caused by Satan, who for that purpose excited the animosity of the mundane and clerical authorities against the Lord. 2
"Christ said that He was a king of love and Son of God, having come to save His people from sin. The devil then thought that he would lose his kingdom, and the authorities thought, 'If this is a king and Son of God, our supremacy will be at an end;' while the clergy said to themselves, 'He is much too insignificant for us; we want a Messiah who will give us temporal power and glory; one who will make us rich in the world and give us high places in society, so that we shall have all the honour of this world. This man we will not have; He is far too poor for us, and if we were to follow Him we might lose the favour of the mundane authorities. We will remain in our glory and power, and do away with this king of beggars and with His kingdom of love.'" (Signature, x. 78.)
By means of His corporeal death, the wrath, or that which was in antagonism to celestial magnificence, was to be taken away from the external being of the Redeemer. 1
"The human fire-life exists in the blood, and therein rules the wrath of God. Therefore another kind of blood, one that was born from the love-essence of God, had to be brought within the wrathful human blood. Both, however, had to enter together into the wrath of death, and thus the wrath of God had to be extinguished in the divine blood. Therefore external human nature had to die in Christ, so as to exist no longer in the quality of the wrath; so that the power of the celestial blood, namely, the speaking Word, may alone live in external human nature, and rule in its own divine power in external and internal man; that is to say, that the sense of the I (the selfishness or illusion of isolation and separateness) cease to exist in humanity; that the Spirit of God should be all in all, and the personality only His instrument living in humility." (Signature, ii. 10.)
"In the external flesh of the Redeemer was contained the evil part which came to the surface in Adam when he died relatively to God. Now this evil product was to be received again within the love of God, as Isaiah said of Christ, 'He took all our sins upon Him.' Now the cursed Adam was hanging at the Cross as a curse, but Christ redeemed him by His innocently suffering pain and shedding of blood. Adam's body died on the Cross, and Christ, born of Jesus and the sanctified seed of the woman, tinctured (blessed) him with His dear blood of love." (Stiefel, ii. 494.)
"The inner man Christ took our sins upon Him, and left the body, whereon He had laid the curse of God, hanging at the Cross as a curse of God. Thus He died, and in His death He spilt His blood, the blood of the holy man, into the essence of the external man, wherein death resided. But when this holy blood entered into death (with the external essence), then became death terrified at this holy life, and the wrath became terrified by the love, and went down into its own poison, as if killed or annihilated." (Stiefel, ii. 205.)
By means of this spiritual death the Lord was to sacrifice entirely to His celestial Father not only the human self-will (this having been already accomplished at the temptation), but also His holy love-will. 1
"When the speaking Word of God in human quality arrested itself in the Redeemer, then the essentiality which had died in Adam, but became alive again in the Christ, called out together with the soul, 'My God! my God! why hast Thou forsaken me?' This means that the wrath of God had entered through the quality of the soul into the image of the divine essentiality, and it had absorbed within itself the image of God, because it was this image that was to bruise within the fiery soul the head of the wrath of God, and to change its fiery power into the eternal sun-life. As a candle dies in the burning, and as from this dying issues light and power, so out of the dying and death of Christ there was to arise the eternal divine sun in human quality. Thus there was to die in this case not only the selfhood of human quality, i.e., the self-will of the soul relatively to (its desire to) live in the power of the fire, and to be lost in the image of love, but this very image of love had to enter itself into the wrath of death, so that all would sink down in death, and by means of death and perfect humility, and in the will and mercy of God, become raised again in paradisiacal substantiality, so that the Spirit of God might be all in all." (Signature, xi. 87.)
In consequence of this sacrifice of the whole of His will, the human soul-life of the Redeemer did not become annihilated, but it entered thereby entirely into the divine will.
"The humanity of Christ gave itself up as a sacrifice to the wrath of the Father, entering entirely into His fire-essence; but the love-spirit of God defeated the wrathful essence of the fire, so that it could not consume humanity (the human quality). It merely took away from humanity its self-will, and brought it again into the first universal will, wherefrom the will was (originally) given to man. Thus that same will came again into the will of the Father as into its first root (fountain or origin)." (Mysterium, xxxix. 24.)
"The doctrine that Christ died a natural death in His human quality must not be understood as if meaning that His created soul had died, and still less that He had perished in His aspect as a divine being, or relatively to His celestial essentiality and celestial tincture. He only died relatively to His selfhood, i.e., relatively to the will and regimen of the external world which ruled in man. He died relatively to the self-will and to the self-powers of the created self hood. All this He gave up entirely into the Father's hands as being the end of nature, the great mystery of the Father; but not so that it should be dead, but so that the Spirit of God should be therein all its life, and the divine regimen exist in the personality of Christ." (Signature, xii. 1.)
Neither did the external being of the Redeemer become lost by His corporeal death, but it entered thereby into its true and exalted substantiality. 1
"When Christ died He did not throw away the body which had been in His possession while upon the earth, or left it to be consumed by the four elements, thus keeping (or taking up) a body entirely foreign (to the terrestrial form); but He merely laid aside the suffering (the external consciousness) of this world, and clothed Himself in immortality, so that His body might live in divine power, and not in the spirit of this world." (Three Principles, xxv. 53.)
"Christ assumed indeed earthly substance, but in His death—that is to say, as He overcame death—the divine being caused the earthly state to disappear and took away from it its supremacy. Not that Christ had laid aside something (which He did not), but so that the external being was conquered and, so to speak, consumed." (Menschwerdung, i. 8, 11.)
"The true essentiality in Christ did not take away the earthly consciousness, but entered into the latter as its lord and conqueror. The true life was to be led first into death and the wrath of God. This took place on the Cross, on which occasion death became destroyed and the wrath imprisoned and extinguished by love, and thus conquered." (Menschwerdung, ix. 16.)
"When Jesus broke up death in (His) humanity and took away the sense of self, He did then not throw away the human quality wherein dwelt death and the wrath of God, but He now accepted them to the fullest extent; that is to say, He only now took the external realm within the interior one." (Signature, xi. 41.)
"The external active and feeling life, wherein the wrath of God was burning, died, but not in such a way that it would have become a nothing, but it descended into nothing; that is to say, in this case, into the will of God, into His acting and feeling. Thereby it became free of the will of the external world, which will is evil and good, and it lived no longer within the world and the constellations with the four elements, but after the nature of the Father and within the pure and divine element. Thus the true human life came to occupy again the position which had been lost by Adam, and entered again into Paradise." (Signature, xii. 5.)
The earthly being of the Redeemer was sanctified by His celestial blood, and thereby it was prepared for the resurrection. 1
"When Christ poured out His celestial blood, then the fiery desire kindled in humanity became transformed into a love-desire, and out of the anguish of death there was born a joy and strength of divine power." (Signature, xi. 5.)
"When the Son of God poured out His holy blood in Christ, then did the poison of the wrath in Adam's flesh, soul, and spirit, which He took upon Himself, become sanctified and transformed into love. Thus the enmity ceased then and there, and God became Immanuel; that is to say, man with God and God with man. Then the flesh of Adam became tinctured and prepared for the resurrection." 1 (Stiefel, ii. 209.)
By the power of the glorification at which the Redeemer arrived through His entering into death He overcame the power of hell, so that now the life again issued from death.
"It is erroneous to suppose that the soul of Christ had left the body and had travelled down to hell, and that it had there, in divine power, attacked the devils and bound them with chains, and thus destroyed hell. It is rather to be understood that at the moment at which Christ laid off the kingdom of this world His soul entered into death and the wrath of God, and thus was the wrath reconciled in love. Thus the devils and all the godless souls in the wrath were imprisoned within themselves, and death was broken up; but the life sprang forth through death." (Three Principles, xxv. 76.)
"Death was wrestling with the external (life of) man, and thought that now the soul would have to remain in the Turba; but there was a stronger power within the soul, namely, the Word of God. This Word captured death and destroyed it, and extinguished the wrath. It was a great poison to hell when the light entered within it, and thus the Spirit of Christ imprisoned the devil, and led him out of the soul-fire into the darkness, and locked him up in the darkness, in wrathful harshness and bitterness." (Forty Questions, xxxvii. 13–15.)
"By the power of the celestial tincture God ignited the fire that had become dark within the essence of the soul, so that henceforth that fire began to burn in white, clear, and majestic power, in light and glory, and thus the wrath of God became extinguished in the essence of the soul and was made into love." (Tilk. ii. 259.)
"The soul of Christ came with the light of God into the wrath, and then the devils trembled; for the light imprisoned the wrath, so that it became a paradise, while the wrath remained in hell. The light closed up the principle of hell, so that no devil is permitted to show himself in the light. He is also blind relatively to it, and the light is his terror and shame." (Three Principles, xxv. 79.)
Thus, in consequence of the bodily death of Christ, the holy ones of olden times who had longed for His coming attained resurrection. 1
"The holy ones, having put their faith into the Messiah, received now the pure element for a new body, according to the promise. For, as the promised hero entered through life into death, their souls clothed themselves in the body of Christ as in a new body, and lived in Him through His power. These were the holy fathers and prophets who in this world had been anointed in the power of the Word of God with the bruiser of the serpent's head, and who by its power had prophesied and performed miracles. They now became alive in the power of Christ." (Three Principles, xxiv. 52.)
"The fathers of the Jews had known Christ not in the flesh, but only in His prototype, and they had clothed themselves therein only in its power by means of the first incorporated covenant and word; but now they clothed themselves in His substance, for all those who had put their faith in Him, and had clothed themselves in the covenant in spirit, in these the covenant was then filled with celestial substantiality. Thus there were many who were raised with Him after His resurrection, and they caused themselves to be seen at Jerusalem, in testimony that they had been raised up in Christ." (Grace, x. 45.)
This conquest of hell and death was accompanied by certain phenomena upon the earth, indicating the approaching destruction of the whole terrestrial world.
"As the prisons of the dark world were to be destroyed in the death of Christ, the earth trembled and the sun became darkened, which symbolised that, as now the eternal light had been born anew, the temporal light would have to cease to exist." (Grace, vii. 8.)
"When the earth received the blood of Christ she trembled and shook, for the wrath of God was now conquered in her, and there entered into her the living blood which had come from heaven out of the substantiality of God." (Menschwerdung, i. 10.)
"The wrath of the Father had to consume in death the life of Christ; but when the wrath had swallowed up the life in death, then the holy life of the deepest love of God moved in the death and wrath and swallowed up the wrath. Then the earth began to tremble, and the rocks burst and the tombs of the holy ones opened." (Mysterium, xxviii. 123.)
"After the Father had brought again the soul of the Redeemer, that had entered into His wrath, into love— that is to say, into the image from Paradise, which had disappeared—then the world trembled in the terror of death as with a terror of joy, and that joy entered into the dead bodies of those that had hoped for the coining of the Messiah, and awakened them to life. It was this very terror that tore the curtain in the Temple, namely, the veil of Moses, which hung before the clear face of God, so that man could not see God." (Signature, xi. 71.)
The body in which Christ Himself arose from the dead was paradisiacal and divine, and could not be apprehended by anything of an earthly nature; but as the terrestrial body was absorbed therein, therefore the Lord could make Himself visible to His disciples. 1
"The body in which Christ became raised from the dead could not be stopped or arrested by rocks or stones. It passes through all things without breaking anything; it takes hold of this world, but this world cannot lay hold of it. Nothing can make it suffer, for in it is all the fulness of the Godhead." (Three Principles, xxv. 87.)
"There was no necessity for the removal of a stone to liberate the body of the Lord from the tomb. This took place merely to show to the Jews the folly of their imagining that they could withstand God, and also for the sake of the weak faith of the disciples, so that they might see that Christ had in truth been raised up." (Three Principles, xxv. 85.)
"Although Christ not always walked visibly among His disciples, nevertheless He showed Himself often visibly, tangibly, and substantially to them in the shape of the body which He had occupied while upon this earth, and which the new body had absorbed, but which it had the power to represent again." (Three Principles, xxiv. 97.)
The heaven wherein the Redeemer has entered after His resurrection is the fulness of divine power, by means of which He is Lord over the terrestrial world and over the world of hell. 1
"The internal foundation of this world, whereof the four elements have originated, is heaven, and in this internal power Christ rules as true God and Man in the external world. When He says, 'To Me has been given all power in heaven and upon the earth,' and also, 'I am with you every day unto the end of the world;' and furthermore, if it is said of Him, 'He shall rule over His enemies until they are all made to be a footstool under His feet,' all this refers to His internal kingdom, because He rules within the internal and over and above the external and terrestrial, and likewise over the hellish world." (Baptism, ii. i, 29.)
Thus the Bible history of the life of Christ and the miracles which He performed, is a description of the processes taking place within the inner life of the regenerated. In Jesus Christ we behold the antitype of the one and only Redeemer of the world, as a whole, and of every separate individual. Every object or person we see in the world is nothing but a symbol of existing ideas; every event taking place in external life is the outcome of invisibly acting forces. The historical correctness of the occurrences described in the Bible may be questioned, but what they describe are facts known to those who have experienced them themselves. The truth of the religion of Christ does not depend on the verification of external historical events; for true Christianity is based neither upon a knowledge of cosmology nor upon history, but upon love.
"The innermost ground in man is Christ; but not according to man's human nature, but according to His, the divine quality in His celestial essence, which He has regenerated. The second ground is the soul, i.e., eternal nature, wherein Christ (the light) becomes revealed; and the third ground is the external man, out of the limus of the earth with the stars and the four elements. In the first ground is the active life of divine love; in the second is the natural fire-life of the created soul, wherein God is called a fiery God; and in the third is the creation of all the qualities wherein Adam stood in the temperature, and which was objectified in the fall." (Grace, iv. 37.)
"'Christ' means a penetrator; the act of taking away the power of the wrath; the illumination of the darkness by light; the transmutation (in the soul of man), by which the gladness of love rules over the lust of the fire in its wrathful aspect; the superiority of light over darkness." (Signature, vii. 3 2.)
To "love Christ" means simply to love the divine light of wisdom and truth, and is practised by being obedient to divine law.
242:1 If we take of the history of redemption the ordinary theological view, and regard it as the work of an extracosmic God, getting offended and p. 243 angry, and becoming reconciled by having his son killed by man, it becomes at once absurd and incredible; but if we look at it in its true light, namely, as an allegory describing an intracosmic process going on in the body of macrocosmic and microcosmic man, it then becomes intelligible. It was not an outside deity, but the divine will, active within the heart of humanity, that willed that humanity should be saved by the awakening of the divine will in man, and the same process takes place even now in the organism of every individual on entering from spiritual darkness into light.
243:1 The term "body," as a matter of course, does not refer to the visible form of earth, which is merely an instrument for its inner inhabitant, but to that principle of which that form is an external expression.
243:2 In other words, there is no other way of restoring the order except by means of its restoration.
244:1 If the light shines merely upon the surface, it then does not penetrate into the depths. The will had to become active within the flesh. This divine will is love, which is substantial and not a mere dream.
245:1 The tombs from which man must arise are error, passions, and temptations.
245:2 The light could not have redeemed the darkness in any other way than by entering therein; neither could anything entirely spiritual and unsubstantial have acted upon matter.
247:1 Little would it benefit man to believe that another person overcame his temptations, while he himself would succumb to his own. He who conquers that which is mortal in him conquers death.
248:1 The first temptation which meets every one on the road to regeneration is the hunger of the lower qualities in him.
"The first cause of real temptation is the transcendent abundant love of God. The human will refuses to submit itself entirely to the exquisite grace which offers itself out of divine love, and seeks for its own self and for the love of that self which belongs to that which is impermanent. It loves itself and the state of this world better than God. Here man is tempted by his own nature, which in her centre stands outside of the love of God, in anguish, combativeness, and dissension, and in which the devil puts his perverted desires for the purpose of leading man away from the sublime grace and love of God. Here the dragon within the soul turns its eyes in vanity towards the world, and shows to her the glory and beauty of this world, and derides her because she desires to become another creature. He puts before her the kingdom wherein she exists and wherein she has her foundation." (Letters, xliii. 3.)
249:1 The second temptation for the regenerated is spiritual pride.
"The second temptation is, that the soul, after having tasted of divine love, and having once been illumined, desires to have that light in her possession, and to act therein in her own power. The fiery nature of the soul ought to be transformed into a love-fire, and she ought to give up her natural right. This she does not like to do, but looks about, prefers to see herself in her own power, which she, however, does not find. Then the soul begins to doubt the power of grace, for she sees that she has to desert therein her natural desire and will. She then trembles, and will not sacrifice to the divine will the rights conferred upon her by nature and die in the divine will; and she imagines the light of grace, which acts without such a fierce power, to be a false light." (Letters, xliii.)
250:1 In the regenerating man the third temptation is, that the soul thinks of employing the spiritual powers which she has acquired for purposes which are not divine, namely, for awakening the sourcive spirits of the lower qualities, and thus of raising her head higher than God, as was the case with Lucifer.
250:2 The sun of wisdom is higher than the moon of imagination.
251:1 Thus in each individual man the overcoming of the temptations on this or that occasion is not sufficient for permanent salvation; for as long as the germ of evil exists, it may sprout again. Final safety is attained only after the battle, when the root of the evil is torn out of the heart.
251:2 A more modern way of expressing it would be: When the disciple becomes an accepted "Chela," his evil Karma begins to assert itself. In other words, the awakening of a new life in an organism stimulates also the lower qualities therein, whether it be a man, a people, or a whole world.
252:1 When that which is mortal in man dies, that which is immortal in him returns to freedom.
253:1 Thus every one should sacrifice to God all of his actions, his thoughts, and will; he should not do anything out of his own power, but out of the power of God (after he once knows that power). As the physical body, except in a state of disease (such as spasms, epilepsy, &c.), does not perform any motions except such as originate in the will of the person, likewise the regenerated acts only as he is made to act by the God in him. Mortal and sinful man cannot perform anything really good by his own power; to attempt it would be a presumption and arrogance; for all that is good belongs to God; man is merely an instrument for divine power.
254:1 If the self-will is entirely sacrificed to the divine will in man, then does man's will not thereby become annihilated, but is itself rendered divine.
255:1 However gratifying it may be for the curious seeker in history to know whether or when such an event has actually occurred in the history of the Jewish nation, such a historical belief would be of little benefit to him if he could not realise within his own inner consciousness that the death of his mortal nature cannot cause any loss to that which is immortal in him.
256:1 The earthly body is those elements in the terrestrial man the ultimate expression of which is his visible form.
"There are two beings (natures) in man. The spirit-life is directed inwardly, and the natural life acts in an outward direction." (Text. v. 1.)
257:1 The "flesh of Adam" is as invisible to us as the spiritual body of Christ. That which we see with our external eyes is merely an appearance.
257:2 Whenever the light of Christ in the soul of man penetrates within the interior foundation of his fiery will, then is that will changed into sweet love, and the soul enters into freedom from the bondage of self.
258:1 If the purified soul of man enters into the divine fountain from which she originated, bringing with her the light which she has gathered unto herself during her terrestrial existence, then will this be like adding new fuel to the fire, and a new effulgence of light and glory will take place in the soul of the world.
259:1 Likewise in each individual man will the terrestrial light disappear from his view when the Christ has arisen in him; for the Christ Himself is the Light, and surpasses the light of external nature. If that divine light arises in man, then will the celestial spirits that have been dormant in his soul arise and move and rejoice.
260:1 Neither will any one's physical body, wherein the inner man is imprisoned as in a tomb, offer any obstacles for the prisoner to escape, after the latter has been raised from the darkness of ignorance into the light of spiritual self-knowledge. Then will the inner sight of the soul be opened and the rock be rolled away. Then may the inner man go out and visit his disciples.
261:1 Man, having become one with the Christ in Humanity, will necessarily partake of His powers in Divinity. The will of the Father is then his own, and in the Son he rules as a Lord over the spiritual kingdom, and through the inner world over the external one.
262:1 "Why does the soul torment herself and strive in her own power and will, thus augmenting her torture? The more anxious she is, the greater will be her pain, and she acquires no rest. A dying plant does not begin to sprout and obtain sap by its own power, and likewise the soul cannot by her own power attain the kingdom of God. She ought to do nothing but abandon her own selfish will, then the evil qualities become weak, and her will returns to the one from which she came in the beginning. Here God will send His supreme love to meet her; that love which has been revealed in humanity, in Jesus Christ." (Illumined Soul, 46.)
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